Anti-alcohol protests and other riots continue to persist in parts of Algeria including the Algerian capital of Algiers. Over the past year, bars and stores that sold alcoholic beverages have been the targets of frustrated people guided by radical Muslims who seem to be using alcohol as a scapegoat as one of the country’s foremost problems next to the problems over increasing food prices and other problems that have hit Algeria right before Tunisia underwent the Jasmine Revolution.
If it is a scapegoat to once again garner political support for radicals in a country which has been waging war on Islamic insurgents and fighting off other radicals resulting in more than 200,000 deaths since the early 90′s, then it is an easily justifiable one as alcohol is the subject of a kind of evil, or at the very least, a gateway to unadvised frivolous behavior in Islam.
The Algerian government and local communities have been forced to close down many bars and other vendors of alcohol due to security reasons as the number of arson attacks and surprise raids increase which bodes badly for those trying to make a living in the business.
Many are criticizing the Algerian government for being too sensitive and neutral on this problem. Some critics are blaming the government’s weak appearance for the slow return of Salafist Jihadists, those who advocated violence in the name of Islam.
Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia nor Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika did not comment on the anti-alcohol riots and protests when prompted by journalists at a conference other than saying that alcohol causes health problems.
(Cover Photo: Associated Press)